DC Time Travel Storylines:
Time Travel is tricky business. To create an entire storyline out of it means you have to pay utmost attention to all forms of detail so that there aren’t any plot holes in the arc. DC Comics has become a pioneer in this field, launching one flawless time travel arc after another that keeps enticing the readers who flock back to the stands to give these stories a try.
10. Adventure Comics #247
This is the comic book arc that introduced the 30th Century Superhero team called the Legion of Superheroes to the mainstream readers. The Legion of Superheroes became popular only after they appeared in this issue when they decided to travel back to the past to try and recruit Super Boy as their newest initiate. Super Boy had to literally give an interview and if he passed, would become a Legionnaire him-self.
Adventure Comics #247 does not offer as much in terms of a classy plot line but it has become a staple of DC Universe History and a very close arc to the origin story of the Legion of Superheroes in general and the exploits of Super Boy in the far future in particular. A version of this story will always be there no matter how many DC reboots happen.
9. Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne
Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne is the tale of Batman returns to take back his rightful throne as the Dark King of Gotham City. After the events of Final Crisis, Batman suffers a devastating defeat at the hands of Darkseid right after he uses the Radion bullet to kill him. The Omega Effect time displaces Batman throughout the chronological turn of events and takes him back even to prehistoric and ancient times.
Batman has to then use his wits and brains to try and find a way out of this time prison and come back to Gotham. It is a six-issue arc and each issue deals with Batman in another timeline starting from the age of witch hunts and the pirates to the modern 20th Century (just a few months after his parents were murdered). Batman even visits the end of time in this arc.
8. All-Star Superman #6: Funeral in Smallville
The All-Star Super-Man arc is known for its jaw-dropping plots. The entire series is very engaging and refreshing. Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely did some really splendid job on the issues. In the sixth issue of All-Star Superman, we read about the Funeral in Smallville story arc. The issue is not as much about time travel as it is about reliving past memories and some much-needed closure for Superman before he passes away into the after-life. Jonathan and Martha Kent take in three unknown homeless strangers with the intention to provide them food and shelter. The three strangers turn out to be Supermen themselves and they want Clark Kent to help them stop an evil entity called the Chronovore which can age anything it touches.
7. The Kingdom
In more ways than one, The Kingdom is both a prequel and a sequel to Alex Ross’ Kingdom Come. A survivor of the Kansas Holocaust is granted unimaginable power by the four members of the Quintessence. Now calling him-self Gog, the new champion murders Superman and carves an S on the ground. But he is still not happy with killing Superman just one time. He travels one day into the past and kills Superman once again.
Gog has gone insane from the traumatic experiences of the Holocaust and has become a psychotic killer. He keeps on killing Superman by traveling back to the past and absorbing his strength, growing more and more powerful. The Superman of the Kingdom Come timeline travels to the mainstream DC Universe continuity and both the trinities of both the universes join forces to put an end to Gog’s tyranny.
6. Seven Soldiers of Victory vs. Doctor Doome
A genius scientist who is the world’s foremost authority on extra-dimensional energy and particle physics develops a time machine. This temporal anomaly creator has the power to help this scientist travel through the time stream. Calling him-self Doctor Doome, he now uses this time machine to retrieve famous personalities from all over history to commit crimes for him. The All-Star Squadron realizes Doctor Doome’s evil schemes and tried to stop him. The storyline has some pretty amazing twists and turns. One of the most famous members of the All-Star Squadron, is forced to betray his teammates after Doctor Doome promises him a way back to his original timeline – that of Camelot.
Probably the storyline that has the greatest impact on the DC Universe, Flashpoint is a harrowing tale of how even superheroes playing God can lead to disastrous consequences. The Flash wakes up to see that he no longer has superpowers. His mother is still alive. And everything is alright in his life. But there is something fundamentally wrong with this world. Superman does not exist. Bruce Wayne is dead.
The Amazons and the Atlanteans, led by an evil Wonder Woman and a vengeful Aquaman, have engulfed the world in a planet-destroying war that risks all mankind. The world is a sickening place and Barry finally discovers that it was all because of him trying to go back in time to stop his mother’s murder that started it all.
4. Time and Time Again
The super-villain known as the Linear Man aims to drag Booster Gold back into the future, where he originally belongs. Superman is not going to let that happen because he is after all the Big Blue Boy Scout. Superman tries to get to Linear Man by using his own method of traveling through time. He uses a series of powerful explosions via specially made bombs to power his trips through time. Sometimes he ends up in the past and sometimes in the far future. By the time Superman manages to defeat Linear Man and bring back Booster Gold to the present, Linear Man reveals his true plan – it was all just a ruse to distract Superman from his true motif which was destroying the moon.
3. Titans Tomorrow
The Teen Titans may not be the best of what DC has to offer. But they sure are pretty interesting. In the Titans Tomorrow storyline, the writers took the adventures of the Teen Titans up a notch. After defeating the Fatal Five Hundred, the Teen Titan is not returned back into the past but flung further into the future.
To be precise, they are sent exactly ten years into the future. In the future, after defeating the Fatal Five Hundred, the Titans have now become super villains and taken over America. The superhero team called Titans East is the only thing that is opposing their rule. The Titans of Tomorrow travel to the past to make sure that the future remains intact and everything turns out the way they want it to be.
2. Crisis on Infinite Earths
The storyline known as Crisis on Infinite Earths was the first storyline to have had so much of an impact on an entire superhero universe. The Monitor has sent superheroes across time. Its objective is to collaborate with the heroes and try to search for the Anti-Monitor, which intends to destroy the entire Multi-Verse and begin life anew in a universe of his design and choosing. Time travel elements are wonderfully used to depict how the rest of the superheroes sent across different time periods come together to defeat a common threat.
1. The Greatest Hero of Them All
After the Crisis on Infinite Earths event, the very existence of Super Boy is at threat. Without Super Boy, there was never a Legion of Superheroes, to begin with since their origin story and debut is tied to that of Super Boy in the comic books. The writers find a novel solution to the problem. In a crossover between Superman and Action Comics, Super Boy is seen fighting the Time Trapper, an out of control Controller who has become a cosmic force of the universe that dwells at the end of time in the universe. Super Boy gives up his life fighting for millions of innocent lives within a pocket universe. Super Boy’s sacrifice inspires the rest of the Legionnaires to keep continuing the good fight and the rest is history.